Reference Quicklinks Graphic Image The J. Rives Childs Collection


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J. Rives Childs, native of Lynchburg, Virginia, graduate of Randolph-Macon College (1912) received a Master of Arts degree in comparative literature from Harvard University in 1915. Mr. Childs served for thirty years in the American Foreign Service and published volumes on a variety of topics, including an annotated bibliography in French of Restif de la Bretonne and an annotated world bibliography of Casanova, as well as a biography of the latter which has been translated into French, German, and Italian and widely acclained by European critics.

He was an authority on Casanova and, through infinite patience, extensive correspondence, and the indefatigable searching of bookstores in New York, London, and Paris, collected over 2000 items of Casanoviana and related 18th century authors. The Casanova Collection is now preserved at Randolph-Macon College and is adjudged one of the most comprehensive in the world.

In 1939, Childs started collecting the writings of Henry Miller, and in 1947, began an active correspondence with Miller, who, always at his best in his letters, confided his attitudes toward his reading and his writing to Childs. Mr. Childs' Miller Collection also includes other writers and artists who came within Miller's orbit. The Miller Collection also housed in the Special Collections at Randolph-Macon College.


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